Suitable changing rooms with shower facilities should be located adjacent to the main mortuary theatre. The locations and procedures for discarding clothing and boots and for washing should be clearly displayed on appropriately sited notices.
5.2 Personal Protective Equipment
Standard infection control procedures (“universal precautions”) shall apply to autopsies which are not high-risk. The Mortuary Procedures Manual must specify arrangements for high-risk autopsies, which must include the protective equipment to be worn.
The wearing of surgical theatre-type clothing is recommended for all staff working in the mortuary theatre and staff must wear an impervious apron and gloves when performing an autopsy.
Impermeable footwear having non-slip soles must be worn by all persons working in the theatre area.
Surgical or post-mortem gloves should be worn by all personnel involved in the autopsy procedure. Double gloving is recommended when thin surgical gloves are used. Sharp- proof gloves must be available and staff should be encouraged to wear them on the non-dominant hand.
Wrap-around eye protection such as safety glasses or visors should be worn during autopsies. Hoods and high filtration grade masks should be available for use in appropriate circumstances.
Respirators having appropriate filters should be available for use in suspected or known high-risk microbiological or chemical contamination.
5.3 Occupational Health and Safety Standards
A member of staff of the institution providing the autopsy service shall be designated the Occupational Health and Safety Officer for the mortuary and all incidents must be reported and recorded in accordance with institutional policy.
Containers for sharps should be located to facilitate their disposal at their point of generation.
A well-maintained continuous eye wash facility must be readily accessible within or close to the main mortuary theatre.
A well-stocked first aid kit should be readily available.
A clean hand-washing basin with elbow or sensor-controlled taps and paper towel facilities should be readily accessible in appropriate areas of the mortuary.
The procedures manual or the institutional safety manual shall contain instructions for dealing with hazardous chemicals and their spillage.
5.4 Training and Development Program
Staff assisting in mortuary or autopsy procedures should be encouraged to undertake training in mortuary practice.
New staff shall undergo a comprehensive induction program covering all skills required to do their job and to comply with occupational health safety requirements of the mortuary.
All staff working in the mortuary should be trained in manual handling procedures, including specialised techniques to facilitate moving of bodies without incurring back or other injury.
Staff should be trained and receive regular updates in infection control.
Staff should receive training in fire awareness and basic first aid to deal with emergency situations.
A record of training received should be maintained for each member of staff and competency for each skill or task should be reviewed annually.
Appropriate vaccinations and follow up of immunity status should be offered to all mortuary staff and records should be maintained, including any refusal of an offer of immunisation. As a minimum there should be vaccination against Hepatitis B and regular screening for exposure to Tuberculosis.